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Writing a Research Report

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Title: Writing a Research Report


1
Writing a Research Report
  • If research was not written up, did it really
    occur?

2
Writing a Research Report
  • Social Scientists conduct research to discover
    facts, truths, and explanations about the social
    world.
  • They write research reports to document and store
    research findings.
  • The point is to provide useful information to
    others.

Library research refers to gathering information
that others have generated. Primary research
refers to generating information through data
collection, analysis, and reporting findings.
3
Writing a Research Report
  • Social Scientists articles, papers, or research
    reports convey
  • Facts and/or theories others in the research
    community generated (research reviews)
  • Facts and/or theories the research community
    generated and ones own findings generated from a
    research project (research article or book)
  • Findings generated from a research project
    without much reference to academic literature
    (applied research report)

4
Writing a Research Report
  • A social science article, paper, or report
    generally covers only one important topic of
    interest and conveys evidence and interpretations
    of evidence.
  • Research reports are NOT creative writing,
    opinion pieces, poems, novels, letters, musings,
    memoirs, or interesting to read.

5
Writing a Research Report
  • Articles, papers, or reports about primary
    research generally take a structure or form that
    seems difficult but is intended to help make
    reading it or using it for research quick and
    efficient.
  • A research report has seven components
  • Abstract or Summary
  • Introduction
  • Review of Literature
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusions and Discussion
  • References
  • Note
  • Qualitative research reports will vary from what
    is presented here.
  • Applied research reports may vary from what is
    presented here.

6
Writing a Research Report
  • A research report has seven components
  • Abstract or Summary
  • The abstract or summary tells the reader very
    briefly what the main points and findings of the
    paper are.
  • This allows the reader to decide whether the
    paper is useful to them.
  • Get into the habit of reading only abstracts
    while searching for papers that are relevant to
    your research.
  • Read the body of a paper only when you think it
    will be useful to you.

7
Writing a Research Report
A research report has seven components 1.
Abstract or Summaryan example
8
Writing a Research Report
  • A research report has seven components
  • Introduction
  • The introduction tells the reader
  • what the topic of the paper is
  • why the topic is importantjustifies the topic
  • what to expect in the paper
  • Introductions should
  • funnel from the broader topic generally,
    justifying it, down to the narrow specific topic
    of the paper
  • Takes the focus to the narrow area that the
    literature review will cover
  • Introductions are sometimes folded into
    literature reviews

9
Writing a Research Report
2. Introductionan example
10
Writing a Research Report
  • A research report has seven components
  • Literature Review
  • The literature review tells the reader what
    other researchers have discovered about the
    papers narrow topic or tells the reader about
    other research that is relevant to the topic.
  • Focused on the narrow topic of the research.
    Irrelevant information is NOT discussed.
  • Often what students call a research paper is
    merely a review of literature.
  • A literature review should shape the way readers
    think about a topicit educates readers about
    what the community of scholars says about a topic
    and its surrounding issues.

11
Writing a Research Report
  • Literature Review
  • Along the way it states facts and ideas about the
    social world and supports those facts and ideas
    with evidence for where they came from.
  • Literature reviews must be empirically based,
    making only claims that can be substantiated by
    other primary research.
  • Parenthetical Citations
  • Run throughout. They are a systematic way to
    document from where facts and ideas came,
    allowing the skeptical reader to look up anything
    that is questionable.

12
Writing a Research Report
  • Literature Review
  • Parenthetical Citations
  • Substantiate the claims without breaking the
    flow.
  • Consist of authors last names and the year of
    publication.
  • Each citation directs the reader to the
    references
  • Complete information on sources is in references,
    so theres no need for all the information to be
    in the text.
  • Look up last names and dates in alphabetized
    references list.

13
Writing a Research Report
  • Literature Review
  • Parenthetical Citations have stylistic
    conventions.
  • In text, just pointing out where info came from
  • blah blah (Author Year) or (Lee 2004).
  • In text, where you quoted someone
  • Quote quote (Author Year Pages) or (Lee 2004
    340).
  • In text, more than one source
  • (Author Year Author Year) or (Lee 2004 Seymour
    Hewitt 1997)
  • In text, if you want to use the authors name in
    a sentence
  • Author (Year) says that or Lee (2004) claims
    that girls
  • Quoting a person and using their name
  • Author (Year Pages) says, Quote quote or
    Lee (2004 341) says, Girls are more likely to

14
Writing a Research Report
3. Literature Reviewexamples of citing
15
Writing a Research Report
  • Literature Review
  • If a claim is necessary, but cannot be
    substantiated by the community of scholars, the
    author makes clear that the claim is speculation.
    The logic of the speculation is detailed.
  • Sources of information are not extensively quoted
    or copied and pasted. Instead, the author puts
    facts and ideas into his or her own words while
    pointing out where the information came from.
  • Think about how you tell family members about
    the exciting things you learned in classes. You
    make claims in you own wordsyou dont quote word
    for word or cut and paste what you learned.

16
Writing a Research Report
You will most likely not use theories in your
papers.
  • Literature Review
  • THEORIES
  • Academic Researchers explain why social events
    occur as they do. They use (and test)
    explanations that have worked before, THEORIES.
    (Research Circle)
  • Most academic literature reviews have a guiding
    theory that
  • Frames (or helps with understanding ) phenomena
    in the literature.
  • Establishes expectations (or hypotheses) for the
    research.
  • Justifies speculation when no empirical evidence
    has yet to justify it.
  • Sometimes the point of a research project is to
    simply test a theory or theories

17
Writing a Research Report
  • Literature Review
  • Quantitative literature reviews typically end
    with statements of
  • Exactly what the focus of research activity will
    be (what ideas will be tested with data)
  • Research hypotheses
  • Statements of the expected relationship(s)
    between two (or more) variables
  • For example
  • Men will have higher income than women.
  • Older Americans are more likely to oppose
    abortion for a woman who does not want her baby
    because she is poor.

18
Writing a Research Report
A research report has seven components 3.
Review of Literatureexamples of complex
hypotheses
  • Hypothesis 1. In a new social context, girls will
    be more sociable than boysgetting more involved
    with others (interactional commitments) and
    forming more emotionally close relationships
    (affective commitments)across activity domains.
  • Hypothesis 2. Given that commitments to new
    relationships positively determine identity
    prominence, and identity prominence positively
    determines behaviors, if girls are more sociable
    with newer persons, their identities and
    behaviors will change more across activity
    domains.
  • Hypothesis 3. However, girls and boys will
    experience the same identity processes, meaning
    that girls and boys with the same sociability in
    new relationships will have equal identity and
    behavior changes.

19
Writing a Research Report
  • A research report has seven components
  • Methods
  • The methods section documents the ways that
    researchers tested their hypotheses to determine
    whether there was evidence in the data to support
    the predicted relationship between the variables.
    Think in terms of Who, What, When, Where, Why
    and How?
  • A METHODS SECTION MUST CONTAIN
  • A) Descriptions of Sample
  • Target Population
  • The Ways Data were Collected
  • Sampling
  • Delivery Methods

20
Writing a Research Report
  • A) Descriptions of Sample (cont.)
  • Response Rates
  • Sample size after various decisions are made
  • Such as
  • eliminating non-Christians from the sample
  • using only white respondents
  • Limitations of Data (Sample biases, Who is
    omitted, etc.)
  • Any analyses necessary to bolster claims the data
    are appropriate
  • Reflection on how well sample reflects the target
    population

21
Writing a Research Report
  • Methods
  • A METHODS SECTION MUST CONTAIN
  • B) Descriptions of Variables
  • (Dependent variable is described first)
  • Give the variables intuitive names.
  • Education, not educ
  • Favor Free Speech, not allowspk
  • Word for word description of the questions used
    to measure the concept (or create the
    variable)Caution using psychology and medicine
    scales
  • The way the researcher coded the variables

22
Writing a Research Report
  • B) Descriptions of Variables (cont.)
  • Manipulations of the variables
  • For example
  • recoding income from 23 uneven intervals to five
    equivalent categories
  • Removing Green Party from Political Party
    variable
  • Reflection on how accurately variables measure
    the concepts that they are intended to measure

23
Writing a Research Report
  • Methods
  • A METHODS SECTION MUST CONTAIN
  • C) The techniques that will be used to test your
    hypotheses or research questions

24
Writing a Research Report
4. Methods
25
Writing a Research Report
  • A research report has seven components
  • Results
  • The results section chronicles the findings of
    the statistical analyses and assesses whether
    your expectations (hypotheses) were correct or
    not.

26
Writing a Research Report
  • Results
  • The results section includes
  • Professional tables showing descriptive and
    inferential statistics
  • Narrative describing most relevant findings in
    tables
  • The narrative and tables are complementary.
  • The narrative discusses ONLY VERY IMPORTANT
    findings and refers to where information can be
    found in the tables as different facts are
    discussed.
  • The tables contain almost all statistical
    information so that the author does not have to
    write a narrative for every detail in the
    analysis.

27
Writing a Research Report
  • Results
  • The results narrative includes
  • Evaluations of the hypotheses. Were the research
    hypotheses supported?
  • Statements about new discoveries or surprises
    encountered in the analyses

28
Writing a Research Report
  • Results
  • Tables
  • Descriptive statistics tables
  • Tables reporting results of statistics that were
    used to test the hypotheses
  • They include
  • Table Number in Title
  • Descriptive Title
  • Other conventions of conveying information in an
    organized manner.

29
Writing a Research Report
5. Results
30
Writing a Research Report
  • A research report has seven components
  • Conclusions and Discussion
  • This section
  • Summarizes the most salient findings in the
    results (tell the reader what you found out about
    your topic).
  • Assesses how ones findings relate to what the
    community of scholars already knew about your
    topic.
  • Discusses the general significance of your
    findings for your topic in genearal.
  • (moves back out from the specific to the
    general topic)

31
Writing a Research Report
  • Conclusions and Discussion
  • You should discuss the shortcomings of your study
    and what implications these have for your
    findings.
  • Discuss things future researchers should
    investigate about your topic.
  • Leave the reader with the understanding he or she
    ought to have about the topic you spent so much
    time exploring.

32
Writing a Research Report
  • A research report has seven components
  • References
  • The references are just as important as any
    other part of your paper.
  • They
  • are the link to the library, the repository of
    empirical evidence gathered from primary
    research. (they make it easy to find sources of
    facts and ideas)
  • permit your reader to assess the worthiness of
    the claims made in your paper.

33
Writing a Research Report
  • A research report has seven components
  • References
  • Should be hanging indented, alphabetical on
    authors last name (by increasing year within
    same author) with information in order determined
    by type of source
  • Article
  • Last Name, first name. Year. Article title.
    Journal Name Volume(number) 1st Page- Last Page.
  • Lee, James Daniel. 2005. Do Girls Change More
    than Boys? Gender Differences and Similarities
    in the Impact of New Relationships on Identities
    and Behaviors. Self and Identity 4131-47.
  • Chapter
  • Last Name, first name. Year. Chapter Name.
    Pages in the book in Book Name, edited by first
    name last name. City of Publisher Publisher.
  • Book
  • Last name, first name. Year. Book Name. City of
    Publisher Publisher.

34
Writing a Research Report
  • A research report has seven components
  • References
  • Should be hanging indented, alphabetical on
    authors last name (by increasing year within
    same author) with information in order determined
    by type of source
  • GSS
  • Davis, James Allan and Smith, Tom W. General
    social surveys, 1972-2008 machine-readable data
    file /Principal Investigator, James A. Davis
    Director and Co-Principal Investigator, Tom W.
    Smith Co-Principal Investigator, Peter V.
    Marsden Sponsored by National Science
    Foundation. --NORC ed.-- Chicago National
    Opinion Research Center producer Storrs, CT
    The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research,
    University of Connecticut distributor, 2007.
  • A website
  • Last Name (if available), first name. Year (if
    available). Article or web page title. Journal
    or Report Name Volume (if available).
    http//address. Date accessed.

35
Writing a Research Report
A research report has seven components 7.
Referencesan example
36
Writing a Research Report
  • Some General Points
  • Make accurate sociological claims in your paper.
    Stake out positionsa kind of, I think I have
    the answer to this issue, position.
  • Cite facts to support your sociological claims.
  • If you can, use theories to support your
    sociological claims.
  • Every declaration or fact claim must be cited
    or overtly posed as speculation.

37
Writing a Research Report
  • Some General Points
  • Anticipate your readers questions as you write
  • help the reader understand why your topic is
    important
  • demonstrate to the reader that you adequately
    investigated your topic
  • help them anticipate what youll say
    nexteverything you say should seem reasonable to
    say
  • While writing, keep thinking The point is to (1)
    establish hypotheses (2) describe how to test the
    hypotheses (3) give results of tests, and (4)
    discuss what the reader should believe about the
    world.

38
Writing a Research Report
  • Some General Points
  • There is no right answer in a research paperJust
    approximate representations of the truth that are
    closer or further away from that truth.
  • The truth is
  • From Community of Scholars
  • What they said about your topic in the
    journals, books, and other publications
  • From you
  • What your methods and analyses revealed about
    the topic.

39
Writing a Research Report
  • FinallyAvoiding Plagiarism
  • What is it?
  • All knowledge in your head has either been copied
    from some place or originally discovered by you.
  • Most knowledge was copied.
  • This is true in most settings. General knowledge
    is copied. Most teachers lectures are copied
    knowledge.
  • Humans are naturally copiers, but this is not
    what we would typically call plagiarism.

40
Writing a Research Report
  • The Elements of Style endorses imitation as a way
    for a writer to achieve his own style
  • The use of language begins with imitation . . .
    The imitative life continues long after the
    writer is on his own in the language, for it is
    almost impossible to avoid imitating what one
    admires. Never imitate consciously, but do not
    worry about being an imitator take pains instead
    to admire what is good. Then when you write in a
    way that comes naturally, you will echo the
    halloos that bear repeating.
  • Copied from http//www.answers.com/topic/writing
    -style-1

41
Writing a Research Report
  • FinallyAvoiding Plagiarism
  • What is it?
  • Among other things, plagiarism refers to taking
    others work and representing it as if it were
    your own.
  • In academics this is bad because with plagiarism
  • One cannot assess students development
    accurately
  • The person who makes his or her livelihood by
    scholarly pursuit is being robbed of credit
  • It masks the lineage of ideas and facts.
  • Plagiarism is to academics as Enron-accounting
    is to
  • corporate America.

42
Writing a Research Report
  • FinallyAvoiding Plagiarism
  • Lineage of Ideas
  • Original sources of research are all the proof we
    have for some facts. Without the paper trail
    of academic thought
  • People could pass incorrect ideas off as facts
  • We would have to keep re-proving things.
  • The contexts that generated facts and ideas get
    lost.
  • Research becomes highly inefficient as it becomes
    incredibly difficult to find full information
    on a topic.

43
Writing a Research Report
  • FinallyAvoiding Plagiarism
  • To avoid plagiarism
  • Document every source for information that is not
    general knowledgethis includes facts and
    ideas.
  • Cite every time a fact or idea is used unless it
    is clear that one citation is referring to a
    group of facts or ideas.
  • If you quote material, put quotation marks around
    the quoted stuff and include a page number within
    the citation.
  • It is alright to paraphrase material, but you
    still have to cite from where the paraphrased
    material came.
  • When in doubt, cite the source.
  • Improper citing is grounds for failure on the
    course paper.
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